FLASH STERILIZATION, APPARENTLY A NECCESITY, COULD BE AVOIDED: DISCUSS.
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FLASH STERILIZATION, APPARENTLY A NECCESITY, COULD BE AVOIDED: DISCUSS.

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14 Comments to FLASH STERILIZATION, APPARENTLY A NECCESITY, COULD BE AVOIDED: DISCUSS.:

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PATRICK ADU GYAMFI on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:58 PM
The New Oxford American Dictionary Second Edition defines Flash as something that reflects light, move or passes very quickly, suddenly or briefly. A thing that occurs suddenly and within a brief or short period of time. A sudden instance. Sterilization also means to make something free from bacteria or other living microorganisms. Flash Sterilization therefore could be defined as the process by which unwrapped or unpackaged reusable surgical instruments are steam sterilized for emergency, unplanned surgical procedures. A process by which all forms of microbial life is destroyed. Although flashed sterilized items are used for emergency cases, they undergo thorough cleaning, decontamination, disinfectants, before Sterilization. Flash sterilization is done every day in our country’s hospitals and surgery centers. Because of that several important facts must be understood to ensure that they are performed safely. Flash sterilization items cannot be store for future use. Specific documentation is required for instruments that are flashed sterilized. There are some organizations that do not recommend flash sterilization of implants such as Association of Peri-Operative Registered Nurses (AORN) and Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) The two organizations above say the following: 1. Flash sterilization should only be used in selected clinical situations, and a controlled manner. 2. The use of flash sterilization should be minimized 3. Flash sterilization should only be done when there is insufficient time to process by the preferred wrapped or container method. I therefore conclude that, flash sterilization, apparently a necessity, could be avoided if the following are improved: 1. The financial status of the healthcare facility should be strong. 2. An organizational structure of a facility that promotes communication. 3. There should be enough or sufficient time to process by the preferred wrapped or container. 4. There should be a 24 hour shift and more employees. 5. There should be a long term budget or plan to cover emergency cases. Written and typed by: Patrick Adu Gyamfi
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MCS on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 9:01 AM
Good job.


BENJAMIN HAYFORD on Thursday, October 13, 2011 2:50 PM
It is a saying that “the number and quality of medical facilities that a country has, is one common measure of that country's property and quality of life". To maintain this assertion, medical facilities all over the world work around the clock to ensure that the voluminous surgical cases and the unforeseen emergency cases are all well taken care of to the best of their ability and by so doing lives are saved every day. Among the many ways by which these medical facilities are able to handle these numerous emergencies and surgical cases is the process of flash sterilization. Flash sterilization is a point of use process by which unwrapped instruments are sterilized for immediate use when emergency situation arise. This technique as defined was developed for unplanned and emergency reprocessing of individual items in an operating room setting when there is insufficient time for preferred terminal sterilization. In a lame man's view it is the fastest means by which soiled instruments needed for immediate use are processed for that purpose. The technique has brought about tremendous improvements into the health care environment and reason for these are not far-fetched. To begin with, the operating rooms run on a tight schedule and to accommodate each surgeon, procedures are scheduled in back to back so that same type of procedure requiring same type of instrument set are scheduled immediately after the previous procedure. Since many operating rooms do not have sufficient instrument set to accommodate this type of scheduling, flash sterilization is used to make these soiled instrument sets ready for immediate use. Aside that, during surgical procedures, when one-of-a-kind instrument become contaminated as a result of the item dropping on the floor and it is needed to continue the surgical procedure, the fastest means to make that item sterile is to flash sterilize it. Furthermore, it is a known fact that many hospitals operating rooms were built decades ago and they do not have separate satellite areas for decontamination close at the operating suites. Having mentioned all these notable facts about flash sterilization, one could easily infer from the above that flash sterilization is and has indeed become a necessity in some health care facilities. But this shouldn't be the case, why? The reason to this is that, in the first place the technique was originally intended for use only in emergency situations but is now being over used to compensate for insufficient inventory of instruments. Operating room managers are deliberately trying to control cost to maximize more profits and this leads to insufficient equipment inventories. Secondly, unlike instruments processed by the traditional terminal sterilization method which is performed by expert Central Service Technicians, flash sterilization is performed by personnel whose primary focus is patient care and not instruments sterilization. The personnel at point of use may also be under pressure to eliminate some steps in the cleaning and sterilizing process. This situation can easily increase the risk of infection because the work output wouldn't be of a quality as compared to that of the expert Central Service Technicians’ benchmarks. Furthermore, flash sterilization also poses increase risk of recontamination as well as increased risk of nosocomial infection because the instruments are unwrapped and often wet when transported to and handled in the operating room. Also the operating room is for the performance of surgical procedures whilst sterilization of instruments is an activity which enhances the surgical procedure, since the sterilization of the instrument eliminates microbial life which affects the surgical procedure. Therefore to flash sterilize in or close point of use locations compromises the surgical process. Last but not the least, to flash sterilize implantable devices like the cranial aneurysm clips, breast prostheses, plates to mention but few, is very risky because these devices are placed in the surgical body cavity with the intention of remaining there for a period of 30 days or more and it poses risk of surgical site infection. Considering the aforementioned demerits of flash sterilization, it is indeed not wrong to say that though certain acts have contributed to flash sterilization being a necessary condition in our health care facilities of late, this situation can be and must be avoided because its demerits far outweigh its merits. To be able to reduce our dependency on this wonderful technique, there should be standards set for quantity of instruments a health care facility should have. All decontamination rooms should be away from the user rooms, all central service technicians must have some level of education with regards to their profession, and all instruments reprocessing activities must be done by central service technicians. If these suggestions are implemented, they will go a long way to limit the dependency on flash sterilization which has made it a necessity because when reprocessing of instruments services is centralized, when efficient and adequate equipment and instruments are purchased and with better educated and prepared work force, Central Service Technicians can process a greater volume of material in less time to meet the increased demand workload of any user department in today's health care environment. BY: BENJAMIN HAYFORD. B
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MCS on Sunday, October 16, 2011 10:01 PM
Very well researched and excellently presented.


George Martin,John Ansah,Eugenia Bediako,Emma K.Acheampong. on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 10:45 PM
Flash Sterilization is the process by which an unwrapped instrument is sterilized for immediate use when emergencies occur, compared to terminal sterilization where the items are wrapped. Flash sterilization is done every day in our hospitals and surgery centers. These procedures are not planned and need to be taken care off as soon as possible. Several agencies and organizations have established standards, guidelines and recommendations for flash sterilization. According to the food and drug administration, an implantable device (implantable is an item that stay in body for 30 days or more) should not be flash sterilized due to infection control factors. AORN does not also recognize flash sterilization of implants because the process increases the risk of surgical site infections, a leading cause of health care facility associated infection. And lastly, AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) also specifies that implantable medical devices should not be flash sterilized and given they are, proper documentation is required. Flash Sterilization should only be done when there is insufficient time to process by the preferred wrapped or container method. It all comes down to how we need to prevent flash sterilization. In order to prevent flash sterilization, careful planning, inventory management and cooperation with supply vendors should be a number one priority. There should also be an instrumentation back system.
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MCS on Sunday, October 30, 2011 9:39 PM
Good.


RICHMOND YAW KRUH on Saturday, October 29, 2011 6:27 PM
10//28/2011 Before discussing the pros and cons of the topic, let’s first look at the definition of Flash sterilization. It is the process by which unwrapped instruments are sterilized for immediate use, when an emergency situation arises or occurs. The definition does not cover routine practices to cater for day to day hospital surgical volumes. The instruments inventory system can be increased to avoid the need for flash sterilization. But supposing an unforeseen real emergency situation happens unexpectedly, for instance, the 911 disaster, in which the number of patients or victims involved outnumbered the number of instrument inventories at facilities close to the site, flash sterilization could not be avoided. So in my opinion, it should not be avoided at all cost, but rather be minimized and proper protocols, guideline and recommendation standard for items preparation and handling should be followed for safety. Furthermore, it is costly to increase inventory systems in order to get all instruments available to avoid point of use processing. Even if healthcare facilities do have the money to fill up instrument inventories and Flash Sterilizations are avoided, there is still no way of predicting let alone of avoiding emergency situations, accidents or disaster. I strongly believe that Flash Sterilization should be minimized and not become a routinely practice. It should only be performed in a controlled environment and manner in emergency situations rather than avoided completely. In conclusion, everything that has advantages has disadvantages as well. I would say Flash Sterilization should be handled properly; procedure and recommended standards should be followed to best meet patients’ needs during disasters to help save lives. Written by Richmond kruh.
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MCS on Sunday, October 30, 2011 9:40 PM
Good job.


IMA ABASUMOH on Sunday, October 30, 2011 9:45 PM
The term flash sterilization is used to describe the shortened sterilization cycles during which unwrapped medical instruments are placed in a rigid container, subjected to steam exposure at a specific temperature for a precisely defined period of time followed by a reduced or no dry time, delivered directly to the point of use under aseptic conditions and used promptly without being stored. The term flash sterilization is problematic, however, because the parameters of a shortened cycle vary based on the sterilizer, the device being sterilized, the load composition and other factors. Flash sterilization would not be such a problem, if people's health were not in line of being at a high risk of being infected with a disease as supposed to feeling better after their surgery due to facilities incompetence with keeping up with their instruments inventory control in the Central Service Department of the hospital/facility and inconsistent employee training and adequate communications. According to an article released by AORN,'Evaluating the use of flash sterilization in OR with regard to postoperative infections', the article describes a quality improvement project that examined postoperative infection rates for 100 surgical procedure in which a total of 121 flash sterilizations were performed and determined the overall cost of treating the postoperative infections compared to the cost of purchasing additional instruments. The results showed that the rate of the postoperative infection on physical examination was 3 percent and the overall cost of diagnosing and treating the postoperative infection was found to be lower than the cost of purchasing additional instruments. Articles such as this would rather encourage the practice of flash sterilization instead of discouraging it although the intended purpose was just to measure the effects of flash sterilization and draw conclusions from them. Nevertheless, AORN still encouraged facilities and hospitals to take the extra step, spend the extra dollar to purchase enough surgical instrument just to ensure patient's safety and also to reduce and eventually eliminate the practice of flash sterilization.
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MCS on Sunday, October 30, 2011 10:13 PM
Insightful.


Akela Robinson on Monday, October 31, 2011 1:09 PM
According to AORN website, “Flash sterilization is a process designed for the steam sterilization of patient care items for immediate use. Transporting sterilized items is a process of removing flash sterilized items from the autoclave in a rigid flash sterilization container to point of use.” And according to free dictionary website, “Flash sterilization is sterilization of unwrapped equipment at 132 degrees Celsius for 3-10 minutes using steam”. Looking at the definitions of flash sterilization the question is why is it necessary to flash items. Flashing items may increase a risk of infection on patients by eliminating steps during sterilization due to pressure on personnel. Another issue why flashing is done so often is due to lack of instruments on hand, a low inventory level to accommodate the volume of cases scheduled. Instead of flash sterilization, can loaner instruments be a way to reduce the use of flashing items all the time? However, that pose a question of money, will it be cost effective? Flash sterilization should only be used as a matter of last resort as a backup just in case of an emergency. But the risk doing some in haste can lead to consequences. In the healthcare field it’s always “an emergency” or its “needed immediately”. There is a need to stop the abuse on flashing frequently. It is necessary only for an emergency. In some healthcare facilities flashed items are done and then stored for later use, which defeats the purpose of flash sterilization. There are two articles of interest that discuss the change of Flash sterilization to Immediate-use-sterilization. Changing the term will not reduce or minimizes its frequent use. The links are provided below http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/articles/2011/01/addressing-fast-turnovers-of-surgical-instrumentation.aspx http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/articles/2011/08/immediate-use-sterilization-a-review-of-the-basics.aspx
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MCS on Monday, October 31, 2011 1:53 PM
Great piece!
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Anonymous on Thursday, June 27, 2013 7:44 PM
After learning about Central Sterilization and the kind of work involved, I became curious. I called several colleges in the Brooklyn area which is closer to my home to do the course but unfortunately none was available. One college was in the middle of the semester, a few did not offer the course and some were not familiar with Central Sterilization. I then Google Central Sterilization and noticed Mbawine Consultant Services, which is four hours my commute. I was reluctant at first but after a meeting with the Director of Mbawine Consultants, I was assured and finally decided. I was extremely satisfied I chose this location. Mr. Natt, my instructor, was the best I could remember. Mr. Natt is a dedicated individual who works well with his students to make sure everything is comprehensible. He reassured and gave us confidence. His manner of lecturing is excellent. I did well in all class quizzes and was successful on my first attempt with the State Board examination. Commuting from Brooklyn was worth it. I recommend Mbawine Consultants to anyone who wants to pursue a career in Central Sterile Services, the overall experience was phenomenal. Thanks to the entire staff of the Mbawine Consultant Services. Mr. Natt, you are an excellent individual. Keep up the good work. Grace H.
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MCS on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 4:59 PM
We wish you all the best in your new career path. Mba.
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